Title:
Climbing shoe with a tension support sole
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A climbing shoe with a tension support attached to the heel area and toe area of the sole to assist climbers in maintaining a curve shape in their foot. The tension support pulls on the heel area and toe area of the sole to assist the climber in maintaining the ideal curve shape to support their weight on small footholds. The tension support reduces the fatigue on the climber's foot and calf muscles. The curve shape of the foot with the toes pointing down is ideal when a climber must support his entire weight with his toes on small footholds. The tension support is made of an elastic material that can flex and allow the sole to flatten out on larger footholds.



Inventors:
Fullerton, Young Chu (Fullerton, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/746528
Publication Date:
06/30/2005
Filing Date:
12/24/2003
Assignee:
FULLERTON YOUNG C.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/8.3
International Classes:
A43B5/00; A43B13/14; (IPC1-7): A43B5/12; A43B3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BAYS, MARIE D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Young Chu Fullerton (Fullerton, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A climbing shoe comprising: a) an upper portion; b) a sole; and c) a tension support made of an elastic strap; wherein the tension support is attached to the toe area of the sole and the heel area of the sole, whereby the tension support pulls on the toe area of the sole and the heel area of the sole, whereby the tension support can assist climbers in maintaining a curve shape to their foot with the toes pointing downward.

2. The climbing shoe of claim 1, wherein the tension support pulls the climbing shoe into curved shape with the toes pointing downwards.

3. The climbing shoe of claim 2, wherein the tension support is sufficiently elastic to allow the sole to flex whereby the sole can flatten out.

4. The climbing shoe of claim 3, wherein the heel of the climbing shoe is surrounded in rubber.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not applicable.

BACKGROUND—FIELD OF INVENTION

The invention relates to climbing shoes, specifically climbing shoe with a tension support sole that assists the climber in maintaining a firm foothold on the rocks.

BACKGROUND—DESCRIPTION OF PRIOR ART

The invention relates to climbing shoes. More particularly, the climbing shoe with a tension support sole relates to climbing shoes where a tension strap creates a curved shape to assist climbers in maintaining a firm foothold on the rocks.

Traditional climbing shoes have generally flat surfaces on the bottom of the climbing shoe. With a flat surface, the edges of the toe are placed on small footholds on the rock. Just the placement and pressure of the flat bottom surface of the shoe on the rocks assists in maintaining the foothold on the rocks. The climbing shoe needs great stability, since the whole weight of the individual may be supported by just the edges of the toe and the climber's hands. The climbing shoe must retain a solid hold on the rocks, when the climber stretches to reach the next foothold or handhold in the rocks. Often, the entire weight of the climber must be supported by the edges of the toes in small footholds or rock crevices. When a climber is supporting his weight with his toes, the climber must rely on his foot and calf muscles to maintain his foothold. During a climb, the climber's foot may suffer fatigue and the climber may not be able to support himself with his toes. As a result, climbing shoes with flat bottom surfaces can be prone to slipping and losing their grip on the rocks.

The ideal shape of the sole when a climber supports his weight on small footholds with the toes, is a curve with the toe areas pointing down. On small footholds, the climber must maintain this curvature of the foot using his foot and calf muscles. This curvature maximizes the transmission of weight along the climber's body to the toes. This curved shape also reduces the fatigue on the climber's toe and calf muscles. However, a rigid curve shape is not desirable because a climber must be able to flatten his foot on larger footholds.

There is a need for a climbing shoe where the sole can maintain a curve shape in the sole for small footholds and also flex for larger footholds. The curve shape of the sole will allow climbers to maximize their grip on small footholds by properly transferring the climber's weight down his body to the toes with minimal effort and fatigue. The ability of the sole to flex is also important to allow the climber to adjust his foot on different footholds. The soles of walking shoes are not designed for climbers to transfer their weight to their toes. The soles of walking shoes are designed to flex to cushion the impact of the ground on the foot.

The prior art includes walking shoes that have a bottom outer sole with outside edges that protrude lower than the remaining inner portion of the bottom outer sole. The shape is designed to flex when walking to absorb some of the impact of the foot upon the walking surface. The curvature of the outer sole does not remain rigid, and the inner portion of the bottom outer sole flexes to touch the walking surface during walking. The edges are thicker than the other areas, so sensitivity is lost. The climber cannot adequately sense and feel the footholds, when the edges are thick. This walking shoe design is most disadvantageous for climbing.

The prior art includes climbing shoes that allow greater flexibility in the sole than the traditional walking shoes.

In one prior art design, U.S. Pat. No. 5,926,974 to Friton, the sole tread pattern adapts to all types of ground due to its adjustable stud profile. As the foot presses down, the sole changes shape to grip the ground contours and on soft ground the studs penetrate the soil. As the weight is taken off the sole, it releases energy, giving the wearers an added spring in their step. The changing shape of the sole is advantageous for walking, but can be detrimental in rock climbing. A sole that flexed and changed shape to easily would be susceptible to losing a grip on a rocky ledge. Furthermore, the studs may prevent a climber from effectively feeling the foothold with the foot.

In another prior art design, U.S. Pat. No. 5,384,973 to Lyden, the sole has flex joints to allow the sole to flex facilitating the independent movement of the toes. A sole with flex joints that assist independent movement of the toes does not help a climber maintain a foothold using the toes. Greater flexibility in the toe area is not advantageous for climbers maintaining a foothold with their toes.

In another prior art design, U.S. Pat. No. 4,546,559 to Dassler, the sole is made of flexible plastic with molded projections on its running surface. The shoe is designed for track and field use and is optimized anatomically for the foot during running. The flexibility offered by the sole is not advantageous for climbers maintaining a foothold with their toes.

The prior art also includes shoes with less flexibility in the sole than traditional walking shoes.

There is a need for a climbing shoe that can provide stability to the sole for climbers using their toes on small footholds and also allow for some flexibility in the sole for larger footholds. A tension support located in the sole that will pull the sole into a curve shape provides both the stability and flexibility a climber needs. A climbing shoe with a tension support sole will provide the ideal curve shape in the sole to effectively transfer the weight of the climber to the toe area. The tension support sole will also permit the sole to flex to assist the climber in maintaining grip on larger footholds.

These and further features and advantages of the present invention will become more obvious from the following description and drawings representing an embodiment of the invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A climbing shoe with a tension support sole fulfills the objective of a climbing shoe that will provide both stability and flexibility for climbers on both small and large footholds. The invention pertains to a sole with tension support that will pull the sole into a curve shape ideal for climbers to transfer their weight to the toes on small footholds. The primary objective of the present invention is to provide an ideal curve shape to the sole to assist climbers on small footholds and, at the same time, allow some degree of flexibility in the sole to assist climbers on larger footholds. This objective is achieved by using a sole with a strap or separate piece of elastic material to pull the heel and toe area of the sole together to form a curve with the toe area pointing downwards. This curve is formed and maintained with the tension provided by the elasticity of the material used. The use of the tension support to pull on the toe and heel also provides flexibility to the sole for climbers when they must use more than the toe area to support their weight on larger footholds.

The climbing shoe with tension support sole includes an upper portion encasing the top of the foot and a sole covering the bottom surface of the shoe. The climbing shoe has a toe area and a heel area. The tension support is created when a piece of the sole is attached to the heel area and the toe area and separate from the middle area. The tension support pulls on the toe and heel area forming a curve in the sole with the toe area pointing downward. The tension support allows the curve to flex and assume a flatter shape depending on the surface it is placed on and the weight distributed along the climber's foot.

The climbing shoe with tension support sole is further described with detail in the appended figures, description and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of the climbing shoe.

FIG. 2 is a bottom view of the climbing shoe showing the bottom of the sole.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

Referring to FIG. 1 through FIG. 2, a climbing shoe 10 includes an upper portion 11 and a sole 12 attached to the upper portion 11. The sole 12 has a toe area 13 and a heel area 14. A tension support 15 is made of elastic material, substantially similar to the sole 12 and is attached to the heel area 14 and the toe area 13. The toe area 13 has stiffness to prevent flexing. The sole 12, the toe area 13 the heel area 14 and the tension support 15 are made of rubber and extend up the flashes of the climbing shoe 10. The toe area 13 surrounds the bottom, front, and front-sides of the foot. The heel area 14 surrounds the bottom, sides, and heel of the foot.

The sole 12 maintains a substantially curve shape as a result of the tension support 15 pulling on both the heel area 14 and the toe area 13. The sole 12 maintains a substantially curve shape with the toe area 13 pointing downwards.

Referring to the side view of FIG. 1, the upper portion 11 can include any material commonly used for shoes, such as leather, nylon and cotton fabrics. The upper portion 11 has a height ‘h’. The upper portion 11 has a substantially uniform thickness and covers the top of the wearer's foot. The sole 12 is made of rubber and has a thickness ‘t’ and is substantially uniform. The sole has a toe area 13 with a thickness ‘t1’ that is greater than the thickness ‘t’ of the sole 12. the sole has a heel area 14 with a thickness ‘t2′ that is greater than the thickness ‘t’ of the sole 12.

Referring to the bottom view of FIG. 2, the sole 12 has a shape substantially conforming to the shape of the foot. The sole 12 has a width ‘w’ and a length ‘l’ that may vary depending on the size of the climbing shoe. The tension support 15 is attached to the heel area 14 and the toe area 13. The tension support has a width ‘w1’ that is less than the width ‘w’ of the sole 12. The tension support has a length ‘l1’ that is less than the length ’1′ of the sole 12.

Reference Numerals in Drawings

  • 10 climbing shoe
  • 11 upper portion
  • 12 sole
  • 13 toe area
  • 14 heel area
  • 15 tension support